MBA ’20 summer internships: Tell a story about your data at Google

Part of a series about summer internships from Olin MBA ’20 students. Today we hear from Shaun Vaid, who interned with Google.

How I prepared for my interview/landed the internship

I can’t opine on how I landed the internship. To be honest, I still have a hard time believing I got the offer! Google is interesting in its recruitment process insofar as they don’t really weigh networking into their decision about whether to hire a candidate. In fact, I spoke with exactly zero Googlers before submitting my application.

I will say, however, that I made sure I would not be caught off-guard by any questions that came my way—market sizing, P&L analysis, technical skills, etc. Here’s how I prepared for the interview:

  1. Read Case in Point.
  2. Interviewed for an internal consulting role with a large pharmaceutical company and bombed it.
  3. Read Case Interview Secrets.
  4. Practiced case interviewing with a highly qualified friend.

The combination of familiarizing myself with the case interview format, failing a live interview and then readjusting my approach with a different set of tools allowed me to perform well enough to receive an internship offer from Google.

How I’m using what I learned at Olin during my internship

I learned about influencing tactics in Politics and Power in Organizations and feel like I use those fairly regularly in my internship. I hold very little position power, but I need people across the organization to assist me with various aspects of my project. Figuring out how to exert influence has been critical to my success in the role thus far.

How the internship is preparing me for my final year in business school

  1. Being hypothesis-driven keeps you focused and allows others to follow your work.
  2. Leveraging deep technical expertise to craft data-driven narratives prevails over anecdotal story-telling. If you don’t have deep technical expertise, then find a way to add it to your skill set. Once you have that expertise, get used to telling the story behind your data—it takes practice!
  3. Schedule all meetings for 30 minutes and respect start/stop times.
  4. Always set aside 30 minutes for somebody who wants to talk to you. Some of the people I’ve had the opportunity to speak with have created products that one-third of the world uses, yet they took my call and didn’t check their phone for incoming messages.
  5. Respond to emails and texts within two hours. Show respect to the people who need answers from you. Still working on this one, but it’s a goal of mine!

A day in the life

On many days, my team works at locations other than our home office, which requires commutes on the gBus. The kind of day I outline below is typical of a day where we are in our home office.

6:00 a.m.: Wake up and check in with my partner as she drives to work.

6:15 a.m.: Check Instagram (who doesn’t?).

6:30 a.m.: Sometimes play NPR’s morning update, mostly play NBA-related podcasts on my phone while I get ready for work.

7:00 a.m.: Out of the door for my walk to the office.

7:45 a.m.: Workout at on-site gym.

8:45 a.m.: Eat breakfast at the cafeteria and grab a coffee on my way to my desk.

9:00 a.m.: Meet with one of my hosts to discuss project updates and hurdles.

9:30 a.m.: Gather, synthesize and analyze data for project.

11:00 a.m.: Daily string cheese and second coffee break.

11:15 a.m.: Reconnect with one of my hosts to ask clarifying questions, get feedback.

12:00 p.m.: Lunch at one of Google’s cafeterias with my team or another MBA intern.

1:00 p.m.: Coffee and email catch up.

2:00 p.m.: Google Video Chat (GVC) with full-time Googler outside of my internship team to learn more about opportunities at organization.

2:30 p.m.: Take a walk to the Ferry Building and get some fresh air.

2:45 p.m.: Craft narratives around data I’ve collected and incorporate qualitative feedback from second- and third-party stakeholders.

5:00 p.m.: Out the door for my walk home.

6:00 p.m.: Check in with my partner post-STL dinner time and say hi to my puppy who has probably forgotten me after nine weeks of being away from me.

7:00 p.m.: Eat a frozen meal from Trader Joe’s.

7:30 p.m.: Personal life admin time—tweak resume, complete lessons on DataCamp, call family, network with non-Google contacts, eat ice cream.

9:00 p.m.: Watch something on Netflix.

9:45 p.m.: Tell myself I’ll just watch one more episode.

11:45 p.m.: Go to sleep.

How the internship shaped my long-term career goals

The Google brand expands my career opportunities in ways I could not have imagined 12 months ago. Whether I return to Google, join a different firm in a different industry, or choose to pursue my own entrepreneurial idea, I am in a position to say that I’ve seen how one of the world’s most innovative companies solves problems and treats its people. I couldn’t have selected a better place to spend my summer from the perspective of living up to my own career aspirations.

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